The Rundown: Lots of Ohtani Talk, Pearl Jam HR Derby, Cards Rumors
Ladies and Gentlemen, please get your pencils and scorecards ready, we have a player signing. The Oakland Athletics signed free-agent right-hander Yusmeiro Petit to a two-year, $10M contract with a third-year club option. The 33-year-old had a career year with the Angels in 2017, finishing with 10.0 K/9 across 91+ innings that included one spot start. He’ll work in middle relief for the A’s this season.
Shohei Ohtani Stuff
Though Scott Boras vehemently disagrees with the new posting process for Ohtani, there was quite a bit of internet chatter regarding the Cubs’ potential signing of the NPB import. Finding innings and at-bats for Ohtani hardly seems to be the most unorthodox thing Joe Maddon might do in 2018, and that may give the Cubs a decided advantage, at least over every other NL team.
And, though everyone thinks an American League team could offer a better opportunity because Ohtani could theoretically get more ABs as a DH, you can’t overlook the fact that the AL’s hitting superiority over the NL has been essentially etched in stone since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973. Ohtani is a pitcher first, and an impressive one at that. A guy who compliments a 102 mph fastball with a five-pitch arsenal may be better suited for the Senior Circuit if future earnings are taken into consideration. Better stats means more money.
Side note: if the Cubs win this sweepstakes, I will simply refer to him by his given name of Shohei going forward.
Phil Rogers pleads emphatically that we not count the Cubs out as a potential destination for the 23-year old phenom.
David Kaplan says that Ohtani is Theo Epstein’s White Whale and that the Japanese superstar has been on the Cubs’ radar for two-plus years. Kaplan’s article indicates that only the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Mariners, Rangers and Blue Jays have a real chance at landing Ohtani. I think its a three-way Cubs/Dodgers/Mariners competition.
Based on player rep Nez Balelo’s questionnaire, Tony Andracki indicates the Cubs are the best fit for the two-way player.
Baseball Essential notes that Ohtani would be the new face of baseball if he were to sign with the Cubs, Yankees, or Dodgers.
More Cubs News & Notes
To promote its latest concert/documentary film, Pearl Jam has released an 8-bit browser game that is a cool home-run-hitting contest set at Wrigley Field. Players choose a member of Pearl Jam from a baseball-card lineup and attempt to hit as many homers as possible in 60 seconds, with scores based on the total distance of those dingers. Players can register their scores for a chance at some fun Pearl Jam swag, including a band-autographed baseball or bat.
Anthony Rizzo donated $150,000 to Douglas High School in Parkland, FL for lights on the school’s baseball field. The Cubs first baseman was a first round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2007, signing upon completion of his senior season at Douglas.
An official baseball signed by 2016 World Series MVP and Cubs Player Ben Zobrist is available in the S.O.S. Freedom Silent Auction. Proceeds from the auction will help S.O.S. Freedom, a 501(c)(3) organization, provide financial assistance to active-duty military and veterans for expenses not covered by military benefits.
Former Boise Hawks manager Gary Van Tol has been named manager of the Boise State University baseball team. Van Tol has spent the last 10 years in the Cubs organization, mainly with the Hawks, whom he managed in 2013 and ’14.
Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald gives his thoughts on the Cubs offseason via Sports Feed.
Remember that one time Javy Baez played right field for two innings last season? Based on that experience, he was named to the 2017 All Out-Of-Position Team.
Some Yankees fans have absolutely no interest in signing Jake Arrieta.
The Astros hope to find a trade partner for SP Mike Fiers ahead of Fridays non-tender deadline.
Mets first baseman Dominic Smith countered a challenge by GM Sandy Alderson yesterday. The first baseman, whose conditioning came into question this past season during a rough six-week stretch to begin his major league career, said he’s lost 11-12 pounds this offseason as he makes better food choices and works out daily in Los Angeles.
With the Jose Abreu rumors coming out Wednesday, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs argues against the idea of using Jackie Bradley Jr. to acquire the White Sox first baseman. The two teams are allegedly in active talks regarding the ChiSox slugger.
Reading between the lines, recently retired OF Carlos Beltran may be the favorite to seize the Yankees managerial opening. My take: hiring an inexperienced manager may immediately take the Yankees out of the running for Ohtani.
The Cardinals are apparently the frontrunners to land Tampa closer Alex Colome. The Redbirds have now been “likely trading partners” for Josh Donaldson, Chris Archer, Corey Dickerson, Andrelton Simmons, Dee Gordon, and any OF who played for the Miami Marlins last season, including Giancarlo Stanton.
The Cardinals were frontrunners several times last season and have only OF Dexter Fowler to show for those rumors. So take it with a grain of salt. They historically do not trade prospects, and I am not sure if any of the other 29 GMs even answer the phone when John Mozeliak calls.
Worth taking a second look: About a month ago, Viva El Birdos posited a potential trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Mike Trout. That’s good, wholesome, family-oriented comedy right there.
Thursday Walk Up Song
The Sound of Silence by Disturbed. For Mozeliak. And Cardinals fans.